Lately its been Names.
Not that names have not featured in my life before now, naturally.
Her name played a big part in us acquiring her. She was featured in an advert stuck on the door of the Superette in Kommetjie. Her owner made other claims about her, apart from her name. She was meant to be a bomb disposal expert, for instance. And some other things besides. When we met her, scuttling into the yard under the wooden fence, well, she wasn't even cute.
Her name was everything.
We kept her.
Over the years she has grown into it, the extraordinaryness of her name. That, and her oversized ears, and her bad manners where little children are concerned, or older men, or anyone who comes near my husband. Shes grown into having a penchant for a mohair blanket (or any blanket for that matter), and never grown out of a deep hatred for the car.
I might even make the claim that her name saved her, absolutely.
I've been reading two books about a child with the unusual name of Turtle. She held on and would not let go, like a certain kind of Turtle, who only releases its grip when the thunder claps. The idea is that if you hold on tight enough, you will be safe against most things.
Her name saved her too, in a sense.
This phenomenon continued into University, and then, strangely, stopped. I think after that they all changed their names.
True, I have been given other names, in friendship, in intimacy, by lovers, haters, teasers, children, parents and those who feel fondness for me, generally.
Somewhere within the bigger picture of things, my name must be saving me too, one day at a time, because this name is mine, somehow unique, even within a large cloud of others.
Like a snowdrop.
Lately, over the last few weeks, I have met quite a few folk with rare and unusual names. Names that have made me smile. Names that have made me wonder.
These names, filed in a list at the soup kitchen I help out at, have attached themselves to waifs and strays, either by choice, or accident, or maybe, by another.
At first glance they appear to be a group of men in serious need of saving. But then, apart from a tatty set of random garments, their name, is just about the only thing they have.
The job of saving then, is probably done.
Well, it doesn't matter anymore, that much is surely true.
The day at the soup kitchen begins and, with a tub of samp and stew in hand, I await Johnny and his glorious surname, Be Good, with his snazzy red shoes, to give me his lopsided smile.
There is one man whose name I hesitate to call out, when his meal is ready- Banana - echoing around the church yard.
General's name is perfectly apt as he is large and black, but also unemployed and hungry.
There is sweet Breakfast who comes round often, although we serve him closer to Lunch...
And there are some others, with rare and beautiful names, who I am only getting to know.
But my favourite of all, has to be that of a man, with a bowed and humble head, who seriously told me that he has but one name only, and that is Splash, and there it was, written down.
We seem to make the things we love as diminutive as we can.
Or maybe we reduce the names of those things, that to us, are big and beautiful and terribly important, to hardly any sound at all, maybe just a breath, a sigh - like the Ancient Hebrews, who didn't mention the name of G-- at all.